Kiwi Chris van der Drift claims runner up and best rookie F Renault Eurocup 2006 Barcelona, Spain, 29 October 2006 -- Kiwi driver Chris van der Drift ended the fiercely competitive Formula Renault 2.0 litre Eurocup championship in second place...
Kiwi Chris van der Drift claims runner up and best rookie F Renault Eurocup 2006
Barcelona, Spain, 29 October 2006 -- Kiwi driver Chris van der Drift ended the fiercely competitive Formula Renault 2.0 litre Eurocup championship in second place overall during last weekends racing in Barcelona. While the New Zealander started the finals as leader in the championship, problems during the weekend saw the title slip from his fingers. With a second place in the Northern European Championship as well as the Eurocup, Van der Drift can look back with satisfaction on his season in Formula Renault 2.0.
After a disappointing weekend in Le Mans, Van der Drift's lead in the Eurocup championship had shrunk to just four points. At Barcelona there were then at least six drivers with a real shot at the title in this very competitive field. The test sessions on Friday started encouragingly with a third best time in the first session and a sixth time in the, often yellow flagged, second session. Fellow JD Motorsport team-member Kasper Andersen led with the fastest time in both sessions. Saturday's qualifying session didn't quite go according to plans, with a fifth start position for both of the last races of the season, and Felipe Albuquerque with both pole positions. If Van der Drift could have finished at least 4th in both races, the Eurocup title would have been his.
At the start of the first race the Kiwi driver profited with a poor start made by Dutchman Carlo van Dam, and found himself in fourth position on the outside going into turn one, and while he could have also tried for third position in the corner, a cautious Van der Drift let team-mate Anderson through. However at some point unbeknown to the Kiwi he had lost the right section of his front wing which caused massive understeer in the corners. Although the Kiwi did his extreme best to keep the opposition behind him, he lost far too much speed in the corners, and from the sixth lap in the race he had to concede to the quicker drivers behind him.
With only four points separating the top four in the championship, the final race promised to be very tense. Albuquerque had the best credentials with his pole position. Again a good start by the Kiwi driver saw him in fourth position by turn one. In spite of pushing hard in the opening laps, Van der Drift lost two positions in the third lap to Piscopo and Baguette, his title aspirations now gone, and eventually finishing as sixth.
As a 'rookie' achieving second place overall in this extremely competitive championship, including two race wins and other podium finishes, the proud Kiwi can look back on his season in the Eurocup Formula Renault Championship with pride and satisfaction.
Chris van der Drift : "I am disappointed that another title has slipped through my fingers. In both the NEC and Eurocup championships I was leading until near the end, but nevertheless lost them both right at the end. I think, however, that this has made me stronger and I must remember that this is the road to the top. Hopefully other new championships are waiting for me and they certainly will be more competitive and professional. But let me say I am very glad with the results I have achieved this year! I have also learned much more than I thought and have improved as a driver; I am faster, stronger and I have more experience. Many people have seen what I can achieve and have been surprised by the results. Especially as I had the least experience among the top drivers. It is not easy even to begin let alone to win races. Doors are beginning to open for me and opportunities have been presented. We must now look at what the correct choice will be for the next step in my career. I would like to thank my race-team, JD Motorsport, for all the hard work this season and my manager Gianni Bianchi for the help and support during this year."
Chris van der Drift is proud to be one of New Zealand motor racing's Black Bullets. To find out more about our Black Bullets go to www.blackbullets.com